6 Tips to Help You Win Creative Competitions

Industry Awards Will Make Your Portfolio Stand Out

Award season is starting. As a designer, copywriter or art director, winning a creative competition can elevate your portfolio to a new level - and can open doors at ad agencies and design studios.

Listing awards on your resume may grab the attention of a creative director and persuade them to take a look at your online portfolio. However, entering competitions can take a lot of time and money. It is a risk to consider, since you never know what the judges will like. 

How to Enter Competitions

Although there are no guarantees, here are some guidelines to help you before you decide to drop $100 on an entry for your latest ad campaign, website, or logo design. 

1. Research the different competitions and find your niche´. Your work is not suitable for every competition and entering the wrong one is a waste of time and money. 

2. Review previous winners. Nearly every competition site shows their past winners. Archives on competition sites can give you a much better idea of what work fits the competition and what the judges have selected in the past. There is an increased chance they will select similar work this year. 

3. Make sure the graphic design, advertising, web, or interactive work you submit is beautifully produced and presented. This should be a no-brainer but judges throw out work for very minor reasons. Don't give them a reason to dismiss a great idea because your entry isn't perfected.

4. Check the specifications. Work with incorrect specs is eliminated. Enough said. 

5. Carefully check the category. Most award shows don't have the time or the manpower to make sure your work is in the right place before the judging starts. Phone the competition headquarters if you have questions.

6. After entering, follow up with a phone call to make sure that your entry arrived and that your payment showed up as well. 

If you don't win, don't worry. Great work gets passed over sometimes. Find another advertising, graphic design, copywriting, or web design competition and try again. Great work plus determination is what wins awards.

Winning Work from 2016 Competitions

Upcoming Competitions

Start your research here: 

The One Club

Webby Awards

American Advertising Awards - Addys

How Design Awards

The Young Shits

Communication Arts

Join the One Show Competition Class

In January we'll be offering a special course for the 2017 One Show - Young Ones Competition. One of the most acclaimed advertising, interactive and design student competitions, you'll work from client briefs. The winners are awarded at the annual One Show Young Ones Education Festival awards ceremony and finalists are published in the One Show Annual as well as online in the Young Ones Awards Archive. 


Portfolio Studio students continue to win awards in top national and international competitions. At the San Diego Studio and Online, students work with industry pros for training and portfolio building.

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